I have it on good authority – by which of course I mean a drunken banker - that one of the highest regulators during the banking meltdown currently absolves himself from all blame by using the rationalisation that he was told to have a light-touch. If so, you really can trace some of this back to Peter "guacamole" Mandelsons' weasely apologia that we're intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich – something Blair seems to have taken as career advice.
Anyway, years ahead of the Co-Op scandal, I was told by three separate people on three separate occasions that the people managing the Co-op weren't fit to manage the local hairdressers, 'apart from the one who does actually manage the local hairdressers'.
I always counteracted this with the argument – 'well, looking around, I can't help thinking they couldn't make more of a mess of it than, say, actual bankers.' To which all three people, looked at me, sighed and said, 'no really, I'm serious'.
So, here's the question. If a poet/gambler living in the wilds of Shropshire, with occasional drunken contact with middle-ranking bankers, knew 10 years ago that the Co-Operative Bank was run by people who'd struggle to run Shifnal Town Council better than it already is, why did so many people in positions of power let them?